Creative Child

12 Creative Consequences for Kids

by Sarah Lyons


6. Donations - If your kids consistently leave clothing on the floor, collect it for donation to a local charity. If they decide they aren’t ready to donate it yet , have them pay you what it would cost them to buy it from a thrift store. (

7. Safety first - It is not safe to drive when people are shouting and making a commotion in the car. If the kids are too rowdy, pull the car over and wait silently until they are quiet.

8. Take time - If you child is dawdling and makes everyone late, have them sit out of the fun when you arrive for the same amount of time they wasted at home.

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9. Early to bed - If the child has a bad attitude and you suspect it’s because they are not getting enough sleep, move up bedtime by 5 minutes each time you need to remind them to improve their  behavior.

10. Kid’s choice - When children misbehave, try allowing them to choose their own consequence. This method gives them control over their fate, teaches them to think about their actions in the future, and makes imposing the consequence easier.

11. Stand alone - If the child will not stop tipping his chair at dinner, simply take the chair away and have him stand while he eats. (

12. Teach respect - “I have a friend that has her children wash the other’s feet if they are being disrespectful to each other.” says Shannon, mom of three.

With some patience, a sense of humor, and some creativity, parents can use the art of creative consequences to teach their children in a fresh and memorable way that will have lasting results.

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Creative Consequences in a Jar

A simple mason jar can be helpful to assign chores, decide consequences, or settle disputes. Try these ideas and tailor them to fit your family.

  1. Job jar - Fill a jar with chores ideas and have them pick one as a consequence.
  2. Mercy jar - Fill a jar with different consequences such as time out, writing sentences, push-ups, etc. Write “mercy” on a few, which means they forgo punishment this time. We can all use a little mercy sometimes. (
  3. Marble jar - For good behavior, completed chores, and acts of kindness kids can earn marbles. When the jar is full let them choose a fun reward.
  4. Reverse marble jar - Start with a full jar of marbles and take them out when there is negative behavior. Each marble out of the jar = 5 minutes taken away from a fun activity. With this method, kids can also earn marbles back throughout the day.
  5. Get along jar - Fill the jar with ideas that will help siblings get along like “Clean up the other’s toys” or “Give each other a hug.” or “Jump on the trampoline together for five minutes.” Kids must choose from this jar if they are fighting or if they tattle. (

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Benefits of Natural Consequence

A natural consequence is something that happens as a result of a certain behavior or choice. Parents can let their children experience natural consequences by not “saving” them from their choices and allowing them to learn from their mistakes. If a teen stays up too late, they will be tired the next day. If a child forgets his sack lunch at home, he will have to eat whatever is on the school menu that day. If a child refuses to wear a coat, they may find they get quite cold on a winter day. Natural consequences help kids take ownership of their actions and can have lasting benefits.

  • The consequence is closely tied with behavior because the results follow the action
  • A natural consequence helps children take responsibilty for their actions
  • They let children make a choice about their behavior
  • This style of discipline occurs in a calm environment
  • It helps children internalize rules and morals we are trying to teach them
  • It prepares children for adulthood by helping them think about the potential consequences of their choices

Sarah Lyons is a stay at home wife and mother of six children, including 18 month old triplets. Using creative consequences with her kids has improved their behavior and encourages healthy relationships with each other.

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